Everyone wants to be fit for obvious reasons. But what if you could get more out of your fitness than what you think you are getting? It turns out that when you are in shape, your mind has a better chance of being healthy as well.
As easy as a 10-minute walk!
It is important to know that being fit does not mean you have to emulate the gym bugs. Anything that improves your fitness level contributes. Take a 10-minute power walk for example. Most of us could go for one every day and it would improve our general fitness level. The best part is that it would also benefit our mental health.
Studies have shown that even a 10-minute power walk would increase your mental awareness, energy, and improve your mood.
What else can exercise do for your mind?
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Through the process of becoming more physically fit, our mental health can benefit from:
- Reduced Stress Levels
- Increased Confidence
- Improved Sleep
- Increased Self Esteem
- Reduced Depression
- Reduced Anxiety
- Increased Wellbeing
- Improved Cognitive Functioning
- Appetite Regulation
But just how much physical exercise do you need to improve your fitness and get the added mental health benefits? The answer is simple: not that much.
Amount of exercise that correlates positively with mental health indicators
In fact, you might need more physical activity to get to your desired fitness level than what you really need to improve your mood. Researchers have shown that about 35 minutes a day of low intensity aerobic exercise up to 5 times a week for a period of between 10 to 12 weeks, is enough to boost your mood.
You might think you need more to get to your ideal level of physical fitness, but your mood needs less. This is an important fact to remember.
Too much focus on physical fitness can reverse your mental health gains. It is good to push your self is that is what you want, and improve your physique as much as you can, but beware. If you start obsessing about physical fitness goals and you try too hard, you might end up harming your mental health as well as your body.
We all have limitations that we should recognize.
Your perception of your body is an important factor that can affect your mental health. It could be good for you, mentally, to look at the mirror and see an image of yourself that you are pleased with; that is definitely beneficial. Just remember that we are not always objective and if you are too harsh on yourself you might get the physique you wanted at the expense of your mental health.
While some will struggle with self-imposed rigor, many others will find it hard to get motivated to start engaging in increased physical activity. This is without a doubt another aspect of your mood that can affect your fitness and come full circle to impact your mental health in a negative way.
To get over the challenge of finding the motivation to exercise, there are a few things you can try:
- Designing a fitness program that suits your personal needs
- Getting a partner to exercise with or engaging in group activities like hikes
- Starting slowly and moving forward in manageable increments
- Setting reasonable periodical goals
- Scheduling your exercise time every week
- Using technology to help you make your physical fitness sessions more interesting
- Moderating your exercise to avoid injury
- Balancing your diet so that you have more stamina throughout the day
Start your physical fitness program and improve your mental health today!
Another powerful motivator is to simply start as soon as you can. Once you understand that waiting will only make it less likely for you to get motivated, you will be more eager to just start now.
Just before you start, you should check in with your physician to make sure your body is ready to go and get some helpful recommendations from the doctor. At Antidote Health our doctors can do just that from the comfort of your own home. We can also put you in touch with dieticians and mental health professionals to help you with a proper diet and some tips on motivation.
We are here to help you feel better and give you all the tools necessary to start your physical fitness program for the sake of your body and your mind as well.